16 Nov 2019

The quest commencing three days earlier, China’s Zhao Zihao emerged the one player, who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament, to reserve his place in the quarter-final stage of the men’s singles event at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum Austrian Open in Linz on Friday 15th November.

In the counterpart women’s singles competition that distinction belonged to the Chinese trio of Gu Yuting, Qian Tianyi and Wang Yidi, alongside Japan’s Hina Hayata.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Familiarity a factor but it was an upset of note; in the second round of the men’s singles event, Zhao Zihao accounted for colleague, Lin Gaoyuan, the no.2 seed (5-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 12-10) to reserve his quarter-final place.

A surprise name in the last eight according to current status, he was not alone. Chinese Taipei’s Wong Chun Ting, Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Japan’s Koki Niwa all progressed. Wong Chun Ting, the no.14 seed, prevailed by the very narrowest of margins against China’s Liang Jingkun, the no.6 seed (11-13, 11-8, 13-11, 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 12-10); in an almost equally tense contest, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.10 seed, beat Japan’s Tomokazu Harmoto, the no.3 seed (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6).

Disappointment for Japan, Koki Niwa, the no.9 seed, balanced the books, he ended the hopes of Sweden’s Mattias Falck, the no.7 seed (8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 16-14, 9-11, 11-9).

Mattias Falck beaten by Koki Niwa (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Leading names progress

Otherwise, it was success for the leading names. Facing qualifiers in the top half of the draw China’s Fan Zhendong, the top seed, beat Darko Jorgic (11-5, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6), Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, the no.8 seed, recovered from a two games to nil deficit to overcome Frenchman Simon Gauzy (11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7); in the fast lane, Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.5 seed, halted the adventures of England’s Liam Pitchford (11-5, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3).

Success against players required to compete in the preliminary stage, it was the same for Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.4 seed; he ousted Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik (11-9, 11-2, 8-11, 18-16, 11-7).

At the quarter-final stage Fan Zhendong meets Lin Yun-Ju, Timo Boll opposes Dimitrij Ovtcharov; in the opposite half of the draw it is Hugo Calderano versus Koki Niwa, Wong Chun Ting in opposition to Zhao Zhihao.

Lin Yun-Ju meets Fan Zhendong in the quarter-finals (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Notable performances

Eye catching performances, in the second round of the women’s singles event Gu Yuting, Qian Tianyi, Wang Yidi and Hina Hayata very much stole show.

Qian Tianyi ended Austrian hopes by beating Sofia Polcanova, the no.12 seed (10-12, 11-3, 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9); Hina Hayata and Gu Yuting demonstrated their skills against defensive play. Gu Yuting overcame fellow qualifier, Germany’s Han Ying (11-3, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5), Hina Hayata defeated Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon, the no.10 seed (11-5, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4).

Fine performances but the star performance was that executed by Wang Yidi; she caused the biggest upset in terms of status, she ended the hopes of Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.4 seed (11-5, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6).

Wang Yidi beat Kasumi Ishikawa (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Further surprises

Four unexpected names through to the quarter-finals and there was one more; also from China, He Zhuojia, the no.11 seed, halted the aspirations of Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.7 seed (11-4, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9).

In the round of the last eight He Zhuojia meets Wang Yidi, in the same half of the draw Gu Yuting faces colleague, Zhu Yuling, the top seed; in the second round Zhu Yuling accounted for Japanese qualifier Miyuu Kihara (3-11, 11-7, 11-3, 13-11, 11-7).

Meanwhile, in the lower half of the draw, Qian Tianyi opposes Hina Hayata, the latter’s colleague, Mima Ito meets Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching. In the second round, Mima Ito, the no.3 seed, overcame compatriot Hitomi Sato, the no.14 seed (11-13, 11-5, 11-4, 12-10, 11-1); Cheng I-Ching, the no.6 seed, halted the aspirations of Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee, the no.15 seed (11-9, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9).

Cheng I-Ching recorded a second round win against Jeon Jihee (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Success for Korea Republic

Defeat for the Korea Republic but in the men’s doubles event it was success. Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu, the top seeds, accounted for Germany’s Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska, the no.5 seeds (11-9, 11-5, 11-7) to reach the final, after having received a quarter-final walk-over when scheduled to face Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan.

At the final hurdle Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.3 seeds, await.

They beat Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, the no.8 seeds (12-10, 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7), followed by success in opposition to Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Maharu Yoshimura (11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 6-11, 11-7) to reserve their place in the title decider.

Lin Gaoyuan (left) and (right) Liang Jingkun await Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu in the men’s doubles final (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Top seeds on course

Progress for the top seeds, it was the same in the women’s doubles. Japan’s Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki ended the hopes of the Korea Republic to reserve their final place. A quarter-final success against Choi Hyojoo and Yang Haeun (14-12, 8-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-7) was followed by a semi-final win in opposition to Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin (12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9).

Tense times, it was the same for the pair they meet in the final, Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu, the no.6 seeds.

In the quarter-final round they needed the full five games to beat Singapore’s Lin Ye and Yu Mengyu (2-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-1, 11-9), as they did in the penultimate round when facing Japan’s Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa (11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7).

Cheng Hsien-Tzu (nearest camera) and Chen Szu-Yu through to the women’s doubles final (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Climbed next step

One step short for Japan, in the mixed doubles event it was one step further; After overcoming colleagues, Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito, the no.3 seeds (11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8), Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata reserved their place in the final by ousting the French pairing of Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan (8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8)

In the final Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata meet Lin Gaoyuan and Zhu Yuling; a bye in the quarter-final, the Chinese duo accounted for Korea Republic’s Cho Daeseong and Shin Yubin (11-9, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8) to reserve their place in the title decider.

Now the focus is on one table, on Saturday 16th November, the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles finals will be played, the men’s and women’s singles semi-finalists will be known.

Hina Hayata (nearest camera) and Tomokazu Harimoto beat Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan to reserve their place in the final  (Photo: Rémy Gros)
World Tour 2019 Austrian Open Hina Hayata Gu Yuting Wang Yidi Zhao Zihao Qan Tianyi

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Day 4 - 2019 ITTF World Tour Austrian Open